California-based apparel maker Bella+Canvas has announced plans for a high-tech fabric cutting plant in Wetumpka, with plans to invest $11.9 million and create more than 550 jobs.
The new plant will move into the former Russell Brands building, an 890,000-square-foot building that’s been vacant since 2013.
“The decision by Bella+Canvas to locate its high-tech cutting facility in Wetumpka is welcome news for Elmore County and for Alabama,” said Gov. Kay Ivey. “Not only will the company’s growth project spark the creation of a significant number of jobs, but it also underscores how Alabama is ready and eager to play a role in America’s manufacturing renaissance.”
The firm, which markets its “Made in the U.S.A.” status, makes clothing for retail and wholesale markets and also offers design and manufacturing services.
Bella+Canvas has a cutting facility in Los Angeles that it describes as North America’s most advanced, using proprietary software and cutting tables to cut some 3 million garments per week. Plans call for the 550-worker Wetumpka plant to be modeled after the 1,000-employee California plant.
“We are thrilled to be part of the community and look forward to creating jobs and opportunities for many in Alabama,” said Bella+Canvas President Chris Blakeslee. “After a comprehensive search, we ultimately concluded that our new location in Wetumpka, Alabama, was not only optimal to enhance our manufacturing footprint and technologically advanced operations levels, but also ideal in terms of support from the local government and access to great new team members.”
The firm is currently seeking workers for positions as spreaders, cutting laborers, forklift operators plus clerical and administrative staff. Annual wages are anticipated to be about $46,000.
The new plant is expected to have a major economic impact in the Wetumpka area because of the number of jobs being created.
“We are excited to welcome Bella+Canvas to Elmore County,” said County Commission Chairman Troy Stubbs. “In addition to the boost our local economy will receive from the infusion of jobs, we are proud to be part of the efforts of Phoenix Investors and Bella+Canvas to restore manufacturing jobs to the United States.”
An affiliate of Phoenix Investors acquired the Russell Brands building in 2020, and the new firm will leave a portion of it.